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Review for Center For Death Penalty Litigation (CDPL), Durham, NC, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

Robert Mosteller

I am a member of the Board of CDPL and a retired law professor. I strongly support CDPL for its effective work against the death penalty and its wonderfully talented and committed staff.

In 1983, I returned to my home state of North Carolina to become a law professor at Duke University Law School after working for seven years at the Washington, D.C. Public Defender Service where I was Chief of the Trial Division. A few years later in 1986, I became co-counsel for a prisoner facing execution on North Carolina’s death row. Working with two of the lawyers who headed organizations that ultimately became CDPL, we were successful after eight years of litigation in overturning our client’s death penalty and having him removed from death row.

I have served as a member of CDPL’s Board since its inception, with a few brief interruptions required by its bylaws, and for a number of those years I was President of the Board. With the passage of the Racial Justice Act (RJA), I wrote a number of amicus briefs in support of CDPL’s litigation under the RJA. I also helped author two law review articles examining the sad history of race and the death penalty in North Carolina and the promise of the RJA to correct that unfortunate history. In the last year, thanks to the inspired work of CDPL and its allies, the North Carolina Supreme Court granted relief under the RJA for a group of defendants and recognized the right of many others to challenge their death sentence under the RJA. These are momentous accomplishments of which everyone at CDPL should be proud.

My work with the CDPL Board and in assisting in small ways its litigation efforts has been deeply rewarding. The lawyers, investigators, and mitigation staff are incredibly talented and hard working, making the most of our limited resources. CDPL handles its own cases but also provides critical assistance to lawyers across the state to defend those charged with capital offenses and to represent all who have been sentenced to death in challenging those sentences. Moreover, CDPL is dedicated to systemic change to eradicate the death penalty in North Carolina and help eliminate the systemic racism in the death penalty and throughout the criminal justice system.

CDPL and its work provide a model for what can be done in opposing the death penalty and working for positive change. I am honored to have had the opportunity to play a role in its important work.

Robert P. Mosteller
J. Dickson Phillips Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus
at the UNC School of Law
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Role:  Board Member